Chapel reopens after 40 years in City of London Crematorium revamp

City of London Crematorium complex at Manor Park

City of London Crematorium complex at Manor Park - Credit: City of London PR

A small chapel for up to 25 funeral mourners which closed nearly 40 years ago in an east London cemetery has reopened as part of a £1.3 million renovation scheme.

It is one of two chapels refurbished at the City of London Crematorium complex (pictured) at Manor Park which had not been used since the 1970s.

The City of London Corporation’s environment chairman, John Tomlinson, unveiled a plaque to reopen the complex after nine months of renovations.

“These wonderful chapels really complete the historic burial grounds,” he said. “The cemetery and crematorium are already a Grade-I listed site and a Green Heritage holder.”

The original municipal crematorium opened in 1904 was the first in the UK. It was closed in 1974 when the modern crematorium replaced it, but was reopened in 1996 as a chapel due to public demand.

The cemetery is the final resting place of famous and infamous names from the past.

The famous include West Ham and England 1966 World Cup captain Bobby Moore, who died in 1993.

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The infamous include notorious Edith Thompson and her lover Frederick Bywaters, both hanged in 1923 for the murder of Thompson’s husband Percy.

Burials also include three of Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel victims.

The land was bought by the City Corporation in 1853 because new burials in the Square Mile had been banned by Parliament the year before because space had run out.

The vast acreage in Aldersbrook Road is the largest municipal burial grounds and crematorium facility in Europe, which has had nearly a million funerals since it opened in 1856.

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